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When learning about criminal defense, there is often a strong inclination to focus on specific topics. Our blog is full of topics like these. This pinpoint focus can sometimes make us forget that there are broad, general, effective tactics you can use in any criminal defense.

What follows are four defense tactics most lawyers use in their client’s defense.

Proving That You Didn’t Do It

The most direct way to maintain your innocence is to simply prove you are not the perpetrator. There are several strategies you can use to maintain innocence. Here are two of the most common.

Debunking the Evidence

Sometimes, the claim simply doesn’t add up to the charge. Say, for instance, that the gun involved in a murder was registered to you. Superficially, this seems to directly implicate you as the killer. However, you may not have been in possession of the gun at the time of the crime. Perhaps you lost it or loaned it out to a friend who, in turn, loaned it to someone else.

Remember, the prosecution has a responsibility to prove your guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” If the evidence simply doesn’t add up, it can be easy to sow doubt in the prosecution’s case.

Claiming Mistaken Identity

The police are usually sure that a crime was committed, but they aren’t always certain about who did it. In their attempt to find a culprit quickly, they may arrest the wrong person simply to move the case forward.

Witnesses constantly misidentify suspects. In the tension and confusion of a crime, the mind can easily trick itself, especially if the police feed details to witnesses. Even security footage can be unreliable. Cameras are often placed at odd angles and produce grainy, blurry images. It’s easy to confuse two people with the same build and skin tone.

Proving Improper Police Methods

In any criminal case, it’s important to closely examine how the police made an arrest. If the authorities failed to follow proper procedure, the case can be thrown out in court.

Here are some improper police methods you can claim in your case:

  • Entrapment
  • Abuse of power
  • Forcing a confession
  • Improper surveillance
  • Illegal search and seizure
  • Breaking Miranda protocols
  • Fabricating or planting evidence
  • Entering your property without a warrant
  • Going outside the boundaries of a warrant
  • Arresting or stopping you without probable cause

Proving Self-Defense

In allegations of violent crimes, a self-defense claim may be a credible response. If you truly believe you are in danger, you have a right to defend yourself, even if you later discover that you were mistaken.

An act of self-defense should be proportionate to the attack. For instance, a slap justifies a return slap, and a full-force attack may justify a more savage response. Make sure that your circumstances match the requirements for a self-defense plea.

Proving Mental Instability

If you weren’t in your right mind at the time of the incident, you may be able to maintain your innocence.

Temporary Lapse in Judgement

Momentary circumstances can affect your decision-making. You could be on the wrong medication, having a medical issue, or even intoxicated. If your alleged criminal act was not consistent with your normal behavior, you may be able to prove that outside circumstances affected your mind.

This plea could result in some penalties, like rehab or therapy, but it could also keep you out of jail and help you maintain a clean record.


An insanity plea is only for those who are truly incapacitated. Often, an attorney chooses to plead insanity on behalf of the defendant, as the accused cannot make these decisions on their own.

If the court agrees with this claim, it will not simply allow the accused to walk free. The alleged offender will be sent to a high-security hospital, losing many of their freedoms and undergoing intense treatment.

Trust our firm to help defend you in court. Our attorney has over 10 years of experience, and he may be able to use one of the above defenses to help you. For a free consultation, call (540) 386-0204 or contact us online.